Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Cyber threats don't affect only large enterprises and governments – they can also affect small businesses. According to research, nearly half of small businesses have experienced a cyberattack, and 69% are concerned about future attacks. Therefore, small businesses should be aware of cyber security statistics and take tangible steps to protect their businesses against cyberattacks.
Employee records, customer information, loyalty schemes, transactions, and data collection are critical pieces of information that businesses need to protect. In addition, the above practices prevent third parties from using the information for fraudulent purposes, such as phishing scams and identity theft.
It's crucial to safeguard your company from cyberattacks, but some business owners are unsure how to do it.
This article is intended to help small business owners navigate the realm of cyber threats and fortify their data security. In addition, the benefits of data security for small businesses are also discussed.
Data security is keeping data safe from unauthorized access or corruption.
Data protection entails safeguarding not only your company's data but also that of your customers and vendors.
Data encryption, hashing, tokenization, and key management are data security strategies that safeguard data across all applications and platforms.
Small firms, unfortunately, appear to be a much easier target for hackers, as their security systems are typically less advanced than those of a medium or large company. Despite this, most small business owners believe they are not vulnerable to a data breach.
Why data security?
Organizations worldwide invest extensively in information technology (IT) cyber security capabilities to secure their essential assets. Every business must protect its brand, intellectual capital, and customer information. It also needs to provide controls for essential infrastructure. However, incident detection and response have three fundamental elements: people, processes, and technology.
Cyber security problems and their effect on small businesses
Security risks faced by small businesses?
Small businesses may not have the operational know-how or employees to appropriately protect their IT systems and networks.
Small firms confront a variety of cyber security challenges, including:
Attacks by phishers: Phishing refers to a type of social engineering attack frequently used to obtain personal data from users; such data includes login credentials and credit card details.
Malware attack: Malware attacks are common cyberattacks in which malware (usually malicious software) performs unauthorized actions on the victim's system.
Ransomware: Ransomware is a sort of crypto virology malware that threatens to expose or permanently limit access to the victim's personal information unless a ransom is paid.
Internal threats: Internal threats are often the result of poor access controls or a lack of proper staff training. Hostile employees or ex-employees might perpetrate cyber attacks in the company, posing internal threats.
Weak passwords: passwords that aren't strong enough can expose a company to unauthorized access and security risks.
Use a combination of at least eight different letters, numbers, and symbols in your password to make it strong. It is more difficult to guess a longer password and contains more character types (including upper and lowercase letters). For instance, M0l#eb7Qs? Employs a unique mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It is also recommended to change passwords every 90 days or less.
Organizations should carefully review password security policies and management since stolen or weak passwords are still the most common cause of data breaches.
What effect does an attack have?
A successful cyber attack on your business can be devastating. It can hurt your financial line, your company's reputation and consumer trust. A security breach has three major consequences: financial, reputational, and legal.
The financial cost of a cyberattack
Cyber breaches frequently cause a significant financial loss due to:
Unauthorized access to corporate data
Theft of corporate data
Financial information theft (e.g., bank details or payment card details)
Theft of funds
Trading disruption (e.g., inability to carry out transactions online)
Loss of contract or business
In addition, businesses would typically pay fees for fixing systems, networks, and devices affected in response to the breach.
Damage to the company's reputation.
A good customer relationship must be based on trust. Cyberattacks can harm your company's reputation and reduce client trust in you. This might ultimately result in:
Loss of clients
Decrease in profits
Reputational damage may harm your relationships with partners, investors, suppliers, and other interested parties.
Legal consequences of a cyberattack
You are required by data protection and privacy laws to manage the security of all personal data you hold, whether it relates to your customers or your personnel. You may be subject to penalties and regulatory sanctions if this data is compromised unintentionally or on purpose and you fail to implement the necessary data security measures.
Essential tips for data security for SMEs
Manage mobile devices, apps, and computer operations
To ensure the user's experience is as smooth as possible, manage important applications rather than the device itself. Also, ensure everything you're doing is transparent, particularly regarding your employees' devices.
Enable secure collaboration
Set up secure tools for data sharing to guarantee that your staff has access to the information they require.
If you send sensitive information via email, ensure you've set up a digital rights management system (or another secure email solution).
Reduce malware exposure
Create a training plan that ensures your employees get adequate awareness training regularly.
It would help if you also considered using an email protection solution that includes time-of-click protection to guard against inevitable human errors.
Implement regulations and procedures that limit specific actions, such as checking personal emails at work or installing apps from a trusted source, among other things.
Prevent data loss via email
Data Loss Prevention (DLP) skills can aid in the security of your company's data. Identify how DLP can be implemented in your workflow.
Also, limit the circulation of specific emails or files, or impose a digital rights management condition that limits who has access to the information.
Set up other key security measures
Securing your company's data is crucial, especially in today's world of remote work. You may use antivirus software, network analytics, firewalls, virtual private networks (VPNs), AI-enabled behavioral monitoring, data encryption, and other security measures.
Focus on sensitive data
The sensitive data you are storing and processing can be an asset, but it is also a liability in terms of security and compliance. Therefore, it is important always to know where sensitive data (such as personally identifiable information) is stored and apply measures like dynamic data masking to protect its anonymity while keeping it valuable.
Benefits of data security for small businesses
Small businesses that take data security seriously and take strategic actions to improve it are less prone to attack.
These businesses will also be able to meet their compliance obligations more efficiently and prevent reputational damage. All of these factors make business more convenient and profitable.
Because the cybersecurity world is constantly changing, you'll need to commit to monitoring and updating your network security regularly to reap these benefits. Here are some proven strategies to help your business reap these benefits while avoiding cyber threats.
Protect your business from external threats
Outsiders were responsible for over 70% of data breaches this year.
Minimizing external risks necessitates using specific device security measures and the appropriate cybersecurity software.
Protect your business from internal threats
While internal threats aren't as widespread as externally perpetrated attacks, they still warrant special attention.
Many of these attacks are avoidable. While hostile employees or ex-employees can always cause problems, many internal attacks result from poor access controls or a lack of staff training.
Ensure your business is compliant
Ensuring that your company is compliant with data protection regulations is very important.
Regarding data protection, several businesses are already living up to expectations by intensifying their cybersecurity.
Many regulatory agencies now require you to make the necessary efforts to secure your company and its data from hackers. You could risk substantial fines or trading restrictions if you don't comply.
Ensure customer data security
It's not just the regulators that are concerned about data security. Consumers have been more interested in how firms protect their data; their awareness of the risks of organizations having large amounts of personal data has grown.
Furthermore, if you can establish an active dedication to data protection, you may gain loyal, long-term clients and increase your revenue.
Cyber Defense Summary
Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common among small businesses, but you don't have to be affected. You can avoid falling victim to preventable cyberattacks by implementing the necessary security measures, from employee training to suitable cybersecurity software. This will not only save you time and effort, but it will also save you money by preventing revenue losses, regulatory fines, and other costs.
Subscribe for more and do comment below if you have any queries.